Amazon com: How a climate change startup is using AWS cloud computing to monitor new forest growth

Terraforming combines local expertise and AWS cloud computing tools to regrow plants.

In the last 18 months, Terraforming, a global forest restoration startup, has launched 13 reforestation projects in 10 countries. The Hawaii-based company has launched projects from Armenia to Ghana and from Ecuador to India. Granular data will become one of the most powerful tools to restore forests and reduce carbon where logging, agriculture and real estate development have eliminated trees and vegetation. Terraformation and its partners have planted over 350,000 new plants and trees. He planned to plant 1.6 million more over the next few years.

The Nature Conservancy uses cloud technology to provide access to tree shade in neighborhoods regardless of income, race or ethnicity. The story is part of Climate Next, a new documentary series from AWS.

Terraforming analyzes, accumulates and replants seeds and seedlings covering the full range of floral species in a particular forest area. As new forests take root, further analysis can provide a full picture of the species and concentrations that create the most vigorous and long-lasting mixtures of greenery. To regrow plants, Terraformation uses a variety of different AWS cloud computing tools, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)and AWS Secrets Manager.

“We want to be able to accurately capture and track projects around the world at every stage, from collecting seeds to planting to measuring the carbon of trees,” said Dr Marian Chau, project manager. Terraforming seed bank efforts. “Initially, it will give us a quantifiable understanding of our reforestation progress – how much we have actually planted around the world, how many have survived and how biodiverse our new forests are. Later we can translate this data into information that can make forestry projects more successful.

A big area of ​​focus will be optimizing supply chains to monitor progress and gaps in the reforestation process, including identifying and collecting seeds, storing those seeds safely, and cultivating them. seedlings to prepare for planting. Knowing which seeds are most likely to produce viable seedlings or which specific species to plant in a particular area makes a forest more resilient, Chau said. Having continuous updates on each stage of the growth plan ensures that each geographic area has enough plant species ready to plant at the right time. More and more timely data is the key. Terraforming’s biggest challenge is figuring out how to capture detailed, verifiable information in a sustainable and achievable way in areas with limited access to technology and internet connectivity.

Much of the Terraforming work takes place away from a computer. The seeds are picked using mowers or telescopic poles and stored in lightweight mesh bags so that they do not rot. Seeds are often assessed in the field by cutting them in half with a pocket knife. Once inside, the seeds are kept in temperature-controlled environments and monitored by sensors that send data to the cloud capturing not only temperature and humidity, but also the health of the seed. Terraformation has developed a mobile application to document each phase from the forest to the greenhouse and vice versa. Chau said the company receives advice from local residents regarding best practices.

“We like to work with partners in indigenous communities who apply local expertise and traditional knowledge on how to collect and store seeds, while integrating more modern technologies, including things like sensors, to intensify their work,” she said.

Amazon CTO Dr. Werner Vogels visits Iceland in the final segment of “Now Go Build.”

Recently, Terraformation launched an accelerator for scaling up reforestation projects, the Seed to Carbon Forest Accelerator. The company is currently recruiting its first cohort of forestry teams and applications close on November 27. The program will provide start-up funding and training to help participants carry out large reforestation projects. Cohort funders, including companies with net zero goals, will receive a portion of the carbon credits produced by these teams.

To find out more, you can watch an episode of Now go buildin which Amazon Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Werner Vogels visits Terraforming and learns how his goal of planting 1 trillion trees is made possible through solar-powered desalination, seeds and cloud-based technologies.

Sherry J. Basler